Public Health Scholarships for College Cut Degree Costs with Funding Options, Aid & Money-Saving Tips

Paying for college can be intimidating, but getting a degree in public health is financially possible. This guide takes the stress out of the process, featuring scholarship listings, tips on creating a stellar application, funding ideas, and links to additional resources.

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Peruse Public Health Scholarships

The public health field is varied and filled with opportunity, which can result in a glut of scholarship options. It’s important to look at all of the options for specialization in public health. In doing so, students can hone in on the scholarships that apply most directly to them.

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Create a Stellar Scholarship Application

Often, the hardest and most tedious part of going through the scholarship process is writing a solid application. But it doesn’t have to be a hardship. Here’s an easy-to-follow breakdown of the steps to follow when putting together a public health scholarship application that will stand out among the competitors.

  • Create a plan of attack

    Applying to public health scholarships can be an overwhelming process, but creating a plan with carefully laid-out deadlines is a foolproof way to make sure that it’s a smooth one. The first step is researching various options to pay for tuition, including scholarships. Ideally, this process should begin about six months before the majority of scholarship deadlines.

  • Make a list

    About two months prior to deadlines, applicants should have a list of appropriate scholarships finalized. After finalizing the list, they should begin drafting application materials and their responses to supplemental questions. Over the course of a month and a half, they should complete all applications and supplemental essays.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the public health field

    The first step in creating an application that will catch a reader’s attention is demonstrating a very clear understanding of the public health field and the applicant’s relationship to it. Applicants should elaborate on the personal experiences that drew them to study public health.

  • Craft a comprehensive personal statement

    The personal statement is the one area on the application where applicants can really sell themselves and their experiences in a way that can’t be quantified through test scores. The University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health notes that discussing aspirations, demonstrating previous work experience and showing passion are all vital to crafting a great personal statement.

  • Highlight previous success

    A successful scholarship application will highlight academic and professional success in a succinct yet intriguing way. It’s like applying for a job: Applicants must highlight their accomplishments and be specific without getting bogged down in detailed explanations. Be sure to include all relevant academic activities and honors in the public health field.

  • Pursue perfection

    The difference between an okay application and a phenomenal one is the elimination of grammar and usage errors. Applicants should both edit their own work and have someone they trust read over their personal statement. When editing, read over the essay aloud, looking for repetitive phrases and typos. Though there are countless ways to edit effectively, here are 25 ways to tighten your copy.

  • Identify and approach references

    One month prior to deadlines, applicants should request at least two letters of reference from supervisors or mentors in the health field.

  • Submit well before the deadline

    Don’t delay going to the post office. Instead, submit applications at least one week before the deadline. Most scholarship committees provide sufficient time for submissions and won’t consider applications that come in a few days late.

4 Practical Ways to Pay for Your Public Health Degree

Education is an invaluable tool in the public health sector. However, it comes at a price. Many are familiar with the usual scholarships, grants and loans, but there are other ways in which people who want to study in public health can fund their degree that don’t include going further into debt. There is no one clear option to pay for school. However, starting early and creating a plan with goals and deadlines is one way to put potential students ahead of the curve.

Start saving now

Being proactive by saving early on can be an incredible boon to the pocketbook. It’s never too late to start, but it is especially helpful if there is plenty of time before the start of a university program. A 529 plan is one way to save if time is not a factor, but any savings will make affording a college degree that much easier.

Take another look at program length

A full-time degree program isn’t for everyone. Beyond the traditional degree programs (master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees), which vary in length and intensity, there are professional certifications that can set public health workers apart without the price tag of a degree program. Here are a couple of options for professional certifications:

  • Certified in Public Health credential

    Instead of going to graduate school, bachelor’s degree holders with five years of relevant work experience can now become a CPH. Earning the credential requires taking a test that goes over various aspects of the sciences as well as social and business acumen. Though it’s not a replacement for coursework, obtaining this certification allows CPHs to distinguish themselves from their peers regardless of their previous academic concentration. More information can be found on the National Board of Public Health Examiners website.

  • Certified Public Health Administrator

    As a CPHA, a professional can demonstrate their competency in the public health field without the time commitment of school. The certification is awarded by the Public Health Practitioner Certification Board, and it requires the holder to demonstrate competency in public health practice as well as public health administration. For further information, please visit the PHPCB website.

Explore company incentives

Some companies offer programs that subsidize the education of their employees. For potential students who are already working in the field, it may pay off to explore existing opportunities within the workplace. Many state-run health programs such as Texas Health and Human Services and the Massachusetts state system offer employee benefits for tuition.

Get outside help

Sometimes the basics won’t cover it, and students need to be a little more inventive to cover the cost of their education. Crowdfunding and other offbeat alternatives may not cover tuition, but they may help offset other education costs.

Explore Public Health Scholarship Resources

There are some additional resources to help students determine next steps, discover scholarships and gather information. Here is a compilation of public health resources for further research:

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health

The ASPPH website is an excellent resource that features everything from ways to obtain scholarships to lists of different scholarships for a broad range of people and students. The site details resources according to the needs of the student. It’s especially helpful for minority students looking for information about scholarships, as it has a section dedicated to resources for underserved populations.

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

The Mailman School of Public Health has compiled resources for scholarships and fellowships for all kinds of students. Whether it’s a scholars program or a scholarship for minorities and marginalized groups, there’s something for everyone here. This is especially helpful for students attending prestigious organizations with high tuition costs.

Explore Health Careers

Sometimes the most pressing question for students as they begin to plan their college careers is what happens after college. This website details possible career fields for those that study in the public health field, regardless of their specialization. This resource is best for students who may be questioning what career path to take after they complete their education.

MPH Programs List

Advocates for Public Health Education has compiled a list of over 50 scholarships for students of different educational aspirations and backgrounds. It breaks down scholarships by educational level and program location. This resource is good for those who aren’t sure where to start looking for scholarships in the public health field.

Public Health Online

With a scholarship list primarily geared toward undergraduates, this resource is particularly helpful for students who may not yet have a specialization. The website breaks down scholarships by the funding organization, award amount and application requirements.

The Society for Public Health Education

Here, there is a detailed list of multiple scholarships and fellowships available to student members of SOPHE. Each description includes a brief summary of the award and links to full descriptions and profiles of previous award winners.

The University of Georgia College of Public Health

This site is filled with information about the field and major specifically for undergraduates who may have questions regarding public health. There is information about work experience for undergraduates as well as opportunities for advancement. This is best for undergraduates who are contemplating studying public health.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Health Resources and Services Administration under the Department of Health and Human Services gives information on scholarships and grants that are specifically designed to encourage students to work in underserved areas. The website includes details about employee repayment programs, scholarships, and loans for health practitioners. For students and professionals looking to work in underserved areas, this resource may be quite valuable.